Yesterday morning, I had just assisted Jody with personal care and had moved to our bedroom to give her some privacy. I sat in a rotating chair and looked at my bureau. The bottom drawer wasn’t closed completely. About an inch of the top surface of the drawer was showing.
I was torn. The part of me that wants everything in its place started contracting. A less developed section of Bruceness didn’t really care. But I could feel the tug of the words “totally” rather than “partially”, and of “flush” rather than “offset”. My goodness, what’s the big deal? Aren’t there more crucial life issues that need to be addressed? Well … yes, but something was pulling me in to its domain. I sure wanted to close that drawer!
Larger principles beckon me, ones that present themselves symbolically to me in the objects of daily living. Doing a job completely, for instance, before moving on.
Then there’s horizontal and vertical. In our hallway, Jody and I have put together a collection of small framed photographs on a wall. One montage of our vacations sits right next to a light switch, and sometimes it gets jostled. So the others are all at right angles but holiday pics are leaning just a bit, far less than that tower in Italy. Still though, it’s not right, says a certain version of my mind. Down deep somewhere is the appreciation of the vertical as representing an upright life, and the horizontal as seeing all beings as equally wondrous in God’s eyes.
Dish towels need to hang loosely from the oven door handle, falling uncreased towards the mystery below. Being bunched and jumbled somehow interrupts the grace of the infinite. Toilet paper falls down over the front of the roll, revealing transparency, rather than descending from behind, and thus keeping hidden and unacceptable some part of its being.
“Bruce, you’re nuts. Make sure nobody ever finds out about your questionable analogies, and the fetishes that unfold from each.”
It’s time for another great life experiment. Let the tea towels bunch. Let the montage lean a mite. Let that bottom drawer show all the glory of its top edge. Don’t fix things. Everything’s perfect as it is. Next week, I can always return to the appropriateness of feng shui principles. And then return to mild disorder the week after that.
After all, as Walt Whitman said, “I am inconsistent. I contain multitudes.”